Rose Theatre's ticket sales dropped last year

10:01am Tuesday 7th February 2012

By David Lindsell

Kingston's Rose Theatre saw another financial loss last year as ticket sales dropped and it struggled to find a hit, according to its latest accounts.

£100,000 of loans was written off by an anonymous benefactor during the financial year ending March 2011, it also emerged.

The theatre has only made one surplus since it opened - making £131,000 in the 2009/10 financial year - thanks to Judi Dench's star turn in A Midsummer Night's Dream.

According to accounts for the financial year filed on January 30, the Kingston Theatre Trust:

The theatre has seen a considerable increase in the amount it received in grants and donations - up to £772,305.

But income from the operation of the theatre dropped by about £400,000 to £2.7m.

Theatre trustees are set to be given a 125 year lease at a yearly rent of £150,000 to stay in the council-owned theatre despite a delay in signing a lease.

One employee of the theatre - believed to be artistic director Stephen Unwin - earned £70,000.

Since the last annual report, Tory grandee Lord Fowler, Val Gooding CBE, Barry Sheerman MP, Independent editor Chris Blackhurst, Delli Miraskandari and Sir John Baker CBE have all resigned.

The accounts were filed in January and made public last weekend so do not take into account the last eight months of the theatre's operation during which it has hired a new chief executive and put on one of its best performing shows The Snow Queen.

The previous year's accounts showed a £131,000 profit but then chief executive David Fletcher revealed that more than half of the tickets for the large auditorium were going unsold.

Kingston Council pays £500,000 a year to the theatre as part of a five year deal.

Kingston University agreed an extension in January of its funding until December 2012.

Money is paid by into a company called Kingston Theatre Limited Liability Partnership, controlled by the council and the university, before being handed onto the theatre.

For more on the Rose Theatre visit www.surreycomet.co.uk/rosetheatre

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